Board of Trustees

Wail Benjelloun

Wail Benjelloun is a former President of Mohammed V University (MVU) in Rabat and of the Conference of Moroccan University Presidents. He is currently honorary president of the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) and president of Moroccan-American Fulbright Commission. He was Vice President of Al Akhawayn University and Dean of the MVU Faculty of Science. He holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the State University of New York (SUNY-Binghamton) and is a widely published researcher in the field. He has also served on several national and international committees concerned with higher education quality and reform, including on the research commission of the Moroccan Agency for HE quality (ANEAQ) and on foundation and university boards of Trustees in Ravello, Doha and Muscat.

Salah Khalil (Founding Trustee)

salah khalil

Salah Khalil is a social entrepreneur with a specific interest in education, employability, the future of work and 21st-century skills and the founder of Macat International. Under his steerage, Macat has worked closely with universities, such as the London School of Economics, and the Ministries of Higher Education across the Arab world including Morocco and Egypt to deliver industry-leading critical thinking assessments and development. Salah is also the founder of The Alexandria Trust, a London-based charity dedicated to restoring world-class education in the Arab region. Underpinning this work is his vision for a new era of philanthropy in the Arab world – catalytic philanthropy to support a step-change in education – that grew out of his extensive experience in the areas of business, political reform, institutional change, and philanthropy.

Haifa Jamal Allail

Haifa Jamal Allail is President of Effat University, a leading institution of higher education for women in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on public administration and public policy at Effat University, and has published a number of articles on a variety of topics including women empowerment and privatisation. Prior to joining Effat University, Jamal Allail was the first Dean of the Girls’ Campus in King Abdulaziz University and a visiting scholar at John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has been involved in education reform in Saudi Arabia since 1991. Her work was recognized in 2005 when she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1,000 PeaceWomen campaign, a global movement to recognise women's involvement in peace and social justice work. She received a PhD in public policy from the University of Southern California.

Heba Raouf Ezzat

Heba Raouf Ezzat is Assistant Professor of political science and Deputy Director of the Centre for Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies at Cairo University, and Adjunct Professor at the American University in Cairo. She has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, University of Westminster, University of California at Berkeley, Georgetown University, and Oxford's Centre for Islamic Studies. She has researched and written on topics such as global civil society and building global democracy, women and politics in Islam, faith and citizenship, and political and social movements in Islam. She has served as a member of the C-100 initiative for Islamic-Western understanding set up by the World Economic Forum, by which she was named a Young Global Leader in 2005.

Hazem Galal

Hazem Galal is a PwC Partner and Global Leader for PwC’s Cities and Local Government Sector. With 25 years of consulting experience, he has expertise in strategy formulation and implementation for cities and local government entities. He is currently the co-chair for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development group that contributes to the ISO standard for cities and smart infrastructure. Since 2007, Hazem has been leading PwC’s global Thought Leadership for cities and local government. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and panels organised by various international bodies as well as local and national governments in developed and developing countries, and a frequent guest expert on leading media channels.

Marlene M Johnson


Marlene M Johnson Marlene Johnson served as Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators from 1998-2017. Under her leadership, NAFSA became the leading advocate on behalf of international education, actively participating in the public and policy debates that impact the field and emerging as a respected voice in support of educational exchanges as a key tool of U,S. foreign policy and public diplomacy. Johnson’s leadership in government, business, and the nonprofit sector spans more than three decades. From 1983-1991, she served as lieutenant governor of Minnesota and served as associate administrator for management services and human resources in the U.S. General Services Administration during the Clinton Administration. In 1970 she cofounded a public relations/communications firm in St. Paul, Minnesota, and ran that business until 1983. During this period she founded the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Johnson currently is Chair of the Board of Kakenya’s Dream, serves as vice chair of the board of WOLA – Washington Office on Latin America – a human rights advocacy organization, and on the advisory committee of the US-China Education Trust. She is a former board member of Communications Consortium Media Center, AFS-USA, AFS Intercultural Programs, the World Press Institute and the National Association of Women Business owners. In 1988 she was awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Kingdom of Sweden.

Tom Connor


Tom Connor After graduating with a degree in Accountancy at Glasgow University, Tom qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC. He has over thirty years of experience from his senior finance positions in a range of companies - from multi-million pound household names to pre- and post-revenue start-ups. He also served as a Trustee on the board of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2003-2018.

Al-Fanar Media Team